White Sox-Rays Preview
The Chicago White Sox came out on top in a pitching duel in their opener in Tampa Bay, and a rested John Danks will try to follow suit by rebounding from his dreadful season debut.
The left-hander hasn't performed well in many of his recent matchups against the Rays but will face an anemic lineup Saturday night while trying to help the White Sox match their best start in 59 seasons.
Chicago improved to 8-2 with a 1-0 victory Friday, and Melky Cabrera pushed across the lone run with a ninth-inning single. The White Sox chose to keep Chris Sale on regular rest after Sunday's postponement against Cleveland and move Danks to Saturday.
Sale responded with a two-hitter while striking out nine for his third win, but Jake Odorizzi kept the Rays (3-7) in the game with seven scoreless innings.
"You don't care when it is, it could be early in the year or later in the year, you find a way to win these games," Chicago third baseman Todd Frazier said. "It's huge because now it helps you out at the end of the year but it also helps the team come together."
Danks will have had seven days between starts after a 7-1 loss to Cleveland on April 8 and likely needed all of them to recover from giving up seven runs in five innings. "I've been excited about this start for a couple weeks now. I definitely pictured it going a lot different in my head, but it's baseball," he said. "Got to get ready for the next one."
Danks (0-1, 9.00 ERA) will seek to extend the White Sox's best start since they were 9-2 in 1982, and get them a step closer to matching their 11-2 mark from 1957. He's 1-5 with a 5.93 ERA in his last seven starts against Tampa Bay, however, and gave up five runs in 5 1-3 innings in his only matchup last season, a 7-5 defeat at Tropicana Field.
He might catch a break this time with the Rays owning a .196 batting average and a .567 OPS. They have scored one run over their last three games and totaled 17 hits in their past four.
Tampa Bay has been shut out in three consecutive games just once - June 8-10, 2014 - and its 19-inning scoreless streak is three shy of matching the fifth-longest in franchise history. Another shutout would give the Rays their second-longest stretch of offensive futility behind a 31-inning streak in June 2014.
Erasmo Ramirez (1-0, 3.00) will try to keep the White Sox scoreless in his first start in 2016. The right-hander went 11-6 with a 3.51 ERA in 27 starts in his first season in Tampa Bay and gave up five runs in six innings in his only matchup with Chicago, a 6-5 loss in 10 innings Aug. 5.
Rays starters have yet to earn a victory, matching their second-longest such drought to open a season in team history. Tampa Bay went 16 games without a starter registering a win in 2003 until Jorge Sosa ended that run.
The statuses of Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier and second baseman Logan Forsythe are unknown after they collided Friday. Forsythe has a bruised lower left leg and left hip. Kiermaier suffered a head contusion and will be monitored for concussion symptoms for "the next 24 hours," manager Kevin Cash said.
"We're going to see how (Kiermaier) is when he comes in (Saturday)," Cash added. "He's got a little bit of a headache. I don't know if that's from the ground or connecting with Logan, I'm not sure."